2009-10-09 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

<img align="left" src="http://mindhacks-legacy.s3.amazonaws.com/2005/01/spike.jpg&quot; width="102" height="120"

Cutting-edge technology has renewed the search for a better lie detector. Some show promise, but they have yet to be tested in court. Excellent piece from law publication ABA Journal.

Newsweek has some remarkable brain images with the low-down on what they mean.

Monitoring your pulse during a gambling task can lead to better decisions, according to a study covered by Frontal Cortex.

Prospect Magazine ponders the relevance of neuroscience discoveries to left and right wing political assumptions about human nature.

Is it possible to visualise sensory impossibilities? asks The Splintered Mind.

The New York Times has a piece on ‘How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect’ which should be called how reading a short story by Kafka improves implicit learning on a pattern detection task.

The XMRV virus is detected in two thirds of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a great write-up by Not Exactly Rocket Science. Although as chronic fatigue is both a common post-viral symptom and also not tied to any one condition, whether this ‘explains’ chronic fatigue, as some media reports have claimed, is another matter,

Scientific American updates on one of our earlier posts on the development of a ‘cocaine vaccine‘. Let’s hope they never need eye surgery, where cocaine is used medically. Also, great coverage from Neuroskeoptic.

Cut! The Neurocritic reviews the neurocinema hype.

The LA Times has a piece on the difficulties with assessing and treating ‘mild traumatic brain injuries’ on the sports field and battlefield.

There’s a useful summary of talks on the anthropology of psychiatry over at Somatosphere.

The Guardian has a good Chris French piece on the waking nightmare of sleep paralysis.

The placebo effect works for high definition TVs too, according to research covered by New Scientist.

The Independent has a piece on arachnophobia.

fMRI willy waving or next step in neuroimaging technology? Clearly both. Medill Reports covers the University of Illinois at Chicago’s prototype 9.4 Tesla MRI machine.

Nature has an excellent piece on the greatest hits and misses of new genetics technique genome wide association studies, including a discussion of the recent research on schizophrenia.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 12, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    “Monitoring your pulse during a gambling task can lead to better decisions, according to a study covered by Frontal Cortex.”
    You’ve implied causation here when the study was more nuanced. It found that individuals who are accurate at sensing their heart rate in a first phase of the experiment also fare better in later gambling session using the Iowa Gambling Task. I haven’t managed to get the full text of the study, but from the abstract and Lehrer’s description it sounds like no group was explicitly instructed to monitor their pulse during the IGT. Indeed, contrary to your description, it is imaginable that such instructions may do no good if the key to success at IGT is a sensitivity to physiological feedback that is simply unattainable (without further training?) by the low accuracy group.


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